Created: Jul 19, 2022 7:30 PM
Gitanjali Gutierrez, the Information Commissioner (file photo by Blaire Simmons)
The Information Commissioner’s website has been redesigned in collaboration with international commissioners.
Improvements to the to place including better search functionality in decisions and lists of public authorities and the inclusion of a specific page on how to make requests for public access to information.
Gitanjali Gutierrez, the Information Commissioner, said: “The Pati Act offers Bermudians and residents a promise of more transparency from public authorities and raises expectations of their openness and accountability.
“To deliver on this promise, public sector leaders must embrace a culture of transparency and easily place more information in the public domain.
“The idea of ’transparency by design’ encompasses the culture change within the public sector that has been fostered by the Pati law. In a culture of transparency, the goal is to increase public disclosure of government activities, decisions and policies. The public sector should create and manage information to support this openness.
“The redesigned ICO website seeks to model this approach to transparency for the benefit of the public and public authorities.”
The website makes additional documents available to the public that disclose the ICO’s management of public funds and its work.
Additional documents available:
ICO’s Pati Disclosure Log (without Pati Claimant identities)
Minutes of ICO staff meetings
Information Commissioner’s Corporate Credit Card Statements
Quarterly unaudited expense reports
ICO salary scales
Other financial, governance and administrative documents.
The redesign is the result of work with the International Conference of Information Commissioners.
Ms. Gutierrez added: “A priority for the ICO is to ensure that our experience with the ICIC benefits the public and public authorities in Bermuda. Our website redesign is a local application of international best practices in public access to information.
“It demonstrates in a concrete way how public authorities can proactively embrace the idea of transparency by design.
“For example, to support accountability for government spending, we now publish ICO corporate credit card statements, which are paid from the government’s Consolidated Fund.
“The publication of government credit card statements has long been a practice of public authorities in other jurisdictions, such as the Cayman Islands and the UK, and it is a practice that the ICO has now adopted.
“The international trend towards transparency by design is consistent with the culture change seen in Bermuda’s government. The government’s public sector reform initiatives have sought to improve information management and build trust between the public sector and the public,
“The ICO also joins other public authorities in Bermuda who demonstrate a culture of openness, for example by posting their meeting minutes on their websites. The Information Commissioner’s annual reports highlight other examples of the wide range of information that public authorities voluntarily disclose.
“The ICO is pleased to recognize that a culture of transparency by design is already well entrenched in Bermuda and will inevitably continue to develop among public authorities.”